Rough Fire no longer threat to General Grant

The Rough Fire is no longer a threat to General Grant, one our national treasures. It's one of the biggest trees in the world and the grove it lives in has reopened.

On Wednesday, firefighters greeted tourists as they walked into Grant Grove.

Fire information officer John Nichols said, "You're right here," as he pointed at map, "the fire is right over here."

It was a lot closer last week. But now, the Rough fire is burning at a safe distance - far enough away to allow tourists into this grove of giants, once again.

"We've had people out looking at these and evaluating them and they really look good," Nichols said.

Marcel Schaller and Claudia Weissberg flew from Germany to visit General Grant. "In Germany, we have no feeling for this, big fire that's burned, we learned that it's good for the forest," they said.

The fire is good because giant sequoias need fire. It dries up their cones, cracks them open and exposes the seeds, while clearing the way for new growth.

"They have to have all that stuff burned away on the ground so the seeds can actually make it to the ground," said Nichols.

Outside of one trail, in the burn zone firefighters said clusters of seedlings will rise from the ashes for the first time in 50 to 100 years. Alex Biskop and Sabine Latko are also from Germany. "We knew there were fires in the area but we were unaware of the impact," they said.

Even though there is less smoke in the air and less people fighting the fire there is still some concern. Roads are still closed, trees need to be cleared and there are flames in remote locations.

"Some of the fire is in the wilderness area where there's a lot of rock, it's not moving but it's not out either," said Frank Mosbacher.

At this point there's no telling how long the fire will burn. One thing is for sure though. General Grant is still standing tall, in his grove of giants, for all to see.

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